Scared Squirrels?


The large vehicle tracks found in and around the “bowl.”

On sunnier, warmer days I normally see several squirrels in and out of the trees in what students on WCC campus call “the bowl.” However, on a cloudy and quite windy day, we saw no squirrels at all. At first I thought it may have been due to the strong winds and the absence of the sun and bright, vibrant colors sunlight brings to everything in it’s path; but, as I looked a little harder, I noticed that there were large vehicle tracks that sank deep into the mud and dirt of the paths in and around the bowl. This led me to the question: could the loud, rambunctious noise of construction vehicle’s have scared the squirrels away?

The wheel tracks seemed rather large, but that may be due to the more sensitive ground from the rain from the day before. These tracks were also large in the width and they seemed to travel around many trees surrounding the area of the bowl.
On a usual day, around the times of 11:00am-2:00pm, if it’s sunny and bright out, the squirrels are typically roaming out and about the bowl. On this day, there were a few contributors: the large vehicle tracks on the dirt paths, the cloudy skies and windy weather, and perhaps the time we went searching.
The day before it had rained a great deal and the grass and dirt was moist throughout the whole day. It was sprinkling a good portion through the day, up until about a half hour prior to our search, and cloudy; therefore, it was darker than it usually is in the spring. I also feel that the location of the bowl may play a part in the lack of squirrel activity and appearance. The bowl is located in the center of campus, meaning the squirrels would have to travel across roads and through the other parts of campus in order to reach the area of the bowl. As the bowl is surrounded by a row of trees, those are the only trees surrounding the area of the bowl and not within the bowl itself. And, according to Sciurus Carolinensis, since squirrels are members of the Rodent family, and spend most of their lives in trees, they may be less likely to appear in an area with such a lack of trees.
I’m still not quite sure which of these theories, if any, is the correct theory, but my observations do support the inferences I have made.